British Columbia

Dermod Travis, B.C.'s 'selfless and persistent' political watchdog, dies in hospital

Executive director of Integrity B.C. Dermod Travis has died at the age of 59 after suffering from liver failure. He is being remembered for his diligent, dogged efforts to hold politicians accountable and to bring transparency to the provincial government.

Executive director of Integrity B.C. said in February he had liver failure but would not seek transplant

Dermod Travis, executive director of Integrity B.C., held politicians accountable and pushed for transparency. (CBC)

Dermod Travis, the executive director of Integrity B.C., has died and is being remembered by friends, former colleagues and politicians that he held accountable.

Throughout his time with the non-profit watchdog, Travis pushed for more transparency on money laundering, political donations and spending of taxpayers' dollars.

Wayne Crookes, Integrity B.C.'s founder, confirmed that Travis passed away Monday in hospital in Victoria. He was 59.

"He was very diligent. He was selfless and persistent," Crookes said.

He said that 10 years ago, he discussed with Travis how the province needed an organization to scrutinize government, and because of his exceptional insight and determination, Travis became the voice and lead for Integrity B.C.

"There was and there is a need for greater scrutiny of politicians. He worked very hard to meet that need in B.C. He did it by writing articles. He also did it by assisting journalists with the work that he did," said Crookes.

Travis described his health problems in a tweet on March 11.

"In Feb, my liver failed. After some reflection, I will not be adding my name to BC's transplant list. If a suitable liver becomes available and my body is ready for a transplant, there will likely be a far younger person in far greater need... that'll be your liver," Travis wrote.

Push for change

For those who knew him, Travis was considered a tireless crusader who logged hundreds of volunteer hours in pursuit of the truth in politics. But he also helped families from Tibet come to Canada before taking on his role at Integrity B.C.

Travis was born in Banff, grew up in Victoria and after attending the University of B.C., worked in Alberta and Montreal as a communications and political consultant.

Travis was the executive director of the Canada Tibet Committee from 2007 to 2011 and was involved in an immigration program aimed to help people coming from Tibet.

He penned numerous public commentaries and shared his knowledge in lectures at several universities across Canada, and was a former member of Quebec's commission on French language policies.

Travis was more recently recognized for taking direct aim at electoral finance reform during the last provincial election.

Crookes said Travis's research helped propel the issue to the forefront.

"It was one of the top of the mind issues going into the 2017 election and the amount of focus and coverage he was able to obtain in the final week of the election and the weeks preceding the election were outstanding," Crookes said.

After the election, the B.C. government introduced legislation to ban union and corporate political donations, including political donations from outside of British Columbia.

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